Local demands must be satisfied before export – Govt.
Lumber shortage affecting housing boom…
Rising prices and shortages of locally manufactured building materials have forced government’s intervention, with a critical meeting set for Monday.
Yesterday, the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC), an agency under the Ministry of Agriculture, denied reports that there is currently a ban on the export of logs or lumber.
Consumers have been complaining of high prices, especially for hardwood, inclusive of greenheart, which is hovering around 300 per board measurement (bm).
Homeowners have increasingly become preferential for lumber to frame especially roofs, doorways and windows.
Over the past few months, prices have been climbing, with rising complaints also of shortages.
GFC, the regulatory body for forest products which includes lumber, yesterday issued a strong release on the issue.
“The Government of Guyana has received numerous complaints from the local construction industry about the acute shortage of building materials on the local market, and the steep increase in prices that consumers are being forced to pay for whatever limited supply is available,” a statement said.
The state agency said its checks revealed that supplies have been tight on the local market.
“The Government of Guyana recognizes that it has an obligation to ensure that the domestic needs of local consumers are first satisfied, before allowing the exportation of logs and lumber.”
It was against this background, GFC said, that the Minister of Agriculture with responsibility for Forestry, Robert Persaud, has directed the GFC to explore possible arrangements to satisfy demands caused by the construction boom, particularly in the housing sector.
“The stakeholders have been advised of this development and are being encouraged to take steps to increase supply on the local market. Contrary to any suggestion, there is no ban on the export of logs/lumber,” the GFC insisted.
Meanwhile, on Monday, Minister Persaud will be meeting with members of the Forest Products Association (FPA) and the Guyana Manufacturers Association (GMA), to further discuss the issue.
Government has been moving for sometime to reduce log exports, encouraging companies to head in a value-added or ‘downstream’ processing direction.
Companies, because of the lower costs, have preferred to export logs without processing.